ROCKPORT - Camden area schools are facing a possible change that would allow a private company to take over custodial services, displacing public employees who have been working, on average, over 15 years.
"It's kind of sad because we're going to miss our regular janitors that we've known for so many years," Alyson, a student at Camden-Rockport Elementary School, says.
The future employment of 22 custodians in three coastal community schools is now in the hands of a committee that faces strong area opposition.
"Clearly we're against it, but at the same time, the idea of outsourcing is not what we really feel anger against, to say from a practical point of view," Bob Calderwood, a custodian of 15 years, says. "It's just hard to be what we all do on a daily basis."
At a Tuesday night presentation at Camden Hills Regional High School, members of the Five Town Community School District and SAD 28 presented the possibility of outsourcing custodial work.
"I think it's our responsibility to look at the financial aspect in a way that has the balance of values we have, and that the community has," Elaine Nutter, Superintendent of Schools, says. "It's going to be a difficult decision for the board."
Of course of great concern, the fate of current employees if the outsourcing plan proceeds.
"They will be offered employment with that firm [Maine Real Estate]. They may or may not accept that opportunity, but they'd certainly be interviewed an offered an opportunity for employment," Nutter explains.
"What we would be doing is destroying the lives of these people," Mark, of Camden, states. "It's not realistic to ask them to take about a half-a-cut in pay and make them live here. It's not just an idea of saving money, but these people are neighbors, friends, people these students care about."
In response to the employment offer, Calderwood says, "I think some individuals will have to do some hard soul searching."
The three schools include Camden-Rockport middle and elementary schools from SAD 28, and Camden Hills Regional High School from the Five Town CSD.
The CSD board will meet to vote on a course of action December 4, the SAD will then meet on the 11th.